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Revived – the female robber who called the shots during the Civil War

C;laire Fiinn who takes the role of a real C17th highway robber who was a female at the National Civil War Centre.

Once England’s highways were haunted by flashy, well dressed criminals robbing the rich and keeping it all for themselves!

But did you know that one of the most notorious was actually a woman?

Mary Frith – nicknamed Cutpurse Moll Frith – was the most feared masked menace of the 17th century civil war and was an ardent supporter of the king in his clash with Parliament.

Her incredible story is now being revived at the National Civil War Centre in Newark by Nottingham-based actress, Claire Finn.

She will don her cape, load her musket and stand and deliver dashing performances during half-term week on 11, 14, 16 and 18 February.

Moll was born in 1584 and first appeared in court for stealing two shillings in 1600.

“From then on, she was uncontrollable and unconventional,” explained Claire. “Carrying a sword, frequenting taverns, pickpocketing and acting as a fence for stolen goods. Her notoriety resulted in two plays being written about her before she was 30 years-old and she often performed in men’s clothing at London’s Fortune Theatre, offering the audience banter, humour and song.  It’s quite a role for an actress to get her teeth into.”

Moll’s ‘finest’ moment came when she held-up Sir Thomas Fairfax, chief of the Roundhead army and Oliver Cromwell’s boss, shooting him in the arm before making off with the loot on her horse.  Captured, she cheated the hangman by paying a £2000 bribe. It’s possible that Daniel Defoe’s Moll Flanders (1721) was partly based on her incredible life.

Colourful costumed performances are included in normal admission and run between 11am and 3.30pm. But keep your valuables safe!

Posted on 31 January 2017

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